Thank You Letter to God

Do look around you.
See all the nice things which nature provides.
Did you ever wonder Who is behind it all?

Though the world may face many problems they are caused by human beings. Most often by those who forgot that there is a Creator Who has a Plan for the Universe. But men in their own self-indulgence and stubborninty want to do it their own way instead of listening to the Most High Creator of all things, the Only One God Jehovah.
Though let us not forget this Creator and thank Him for all the things we can get without having earned it.

 

Please do find as well:

Only One God

God is One

Creator of heaven and earth and everything around יהוה

Pure Words and Testimonies full of Breath of the Most High

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  • The wisdom of Jehovah (illustrationstoencourage.wordpress.com)
    This is what Jehovah has said, your Repurchaser, the Holy One of Israel: “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit [yourself], the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk.
  • Creator and Blogger God 6 For His people (bijbelvorser.wordpress.com)
    Today we too should know this: Jehovah, should be our God, in whom we are willing to trust and give us in His hands. We should allow Him to carry us ‘over the river’, the difficult situations, crossing the river ahead of us.
  • This is our God (motherlandhomewaresblog.com)
    The Lord proclaimed the name of God before Moses when his went up to Mount Sinai. The Name of God reveal his character. The Lord: The most high : Jehovah-El-Elyon.                                              The Lord Lord: Jehovah EL-Shaddai The Lord Strong: Jehovah Sabaoth  Lord merciful: Jehovah Mekaddesh Gracious God: Jehovah Ebenezer Slow to anger: Jehovah Rohi.    Goodness of our Lord: Jehovah Tsidkenu. God of truth: Jehovah Elohim                Reserving mercy for thousands: Jehovah Rapha forgiving iniquity/: Jehovah Shamma The eternal one Jehovah El-olam not making the wicked innocent.
  • Creator and Blogger God 7 A Blog of a Book 1 Believing the Blogger (bijbelvorser.wordpress.com)
    In one of his last recorded prayers before his death, Jesus declared: “this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent” (John 17:3). It is a remarkable fact that our salvationlife eternal – should link so closely with our knowledge of God.

    Jesus always worked on the relationship with his Father and took care that others got to know his Father, without Jesus is nothing and who is mightier than Jesus.

everyday gurus

Dear God,

Thank you for all the peace you create in this world.

Thank you for being love. I now realize that when I am loving, I am you. When I am full of fear, hatred, or anger, then I am pushing you away with both arms. If I open those arms and expose my heart, then you are always there to give me the love I need.

Thank you for being the best teacher I have ever had. Your lessons are custom made to help me work on what I need to learn in this lifetime. Your patience and foresight are beyond measure.

Thank you for showing me that life is like a jigsaw puzzle: The individual pieces may seem incoherent, chaotic, and sometimes dark, but if we look at the bigger picture, we experience beauty, unity, and meaning.

Thank you for my two beautiful children, although they are…

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Posted in B4Peace, Christianity, Reflection - Consideration or Contemplation, Religion, Thoughts of others | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Democracy and Freedom according to Atatürk

One of the great contemporary and modern democratic politicians, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), revolutionary statesman, writer, and the first President of Turkey, wrote:


Democracy and Freedom

It must never be forgotten that there are ignorant and inattentive people who want the nation to be dominated by one person or certain people in order to gain advantage over them. (January 1923)

According to the world, our greatest power and strength is our new nature and formation. (1922)

Government cannot be built on fear.
A government built on unlawfulness can never be permanent.
That kind of domination and dictatorship may be necessary during a time of revolution. (March 1930)

Every person has the right and freedom of thought, belief, possessing a political opinion, the choice to fulfil or not to fulfil the requirements of his chosen religion.
Nobody can dominate other opinions and consciences.

The freedom of conscience must be considered as one of the most important natural rights of a person and may not be infringed upon.

Freedom is absolutely doing what is wished and wanted.

This definition is the widest meaning of freedom.
In this sense of freedom, people have never enjoyed such a freedom and will never do so.
As known, Man is a creature of nature. Even nature itself is not absolutely free but depends on universal laws. Therefore, in nature, Man firstly depends on nature’s laws, conditions, reasons and factors.
For example, to be born or not has never been up to humans and is not so.
After the human was born, even at the first moment, he is indigent to nature and its creatures.
He needs to be protected, to be fed, to be taken care of and to be brought up. (1930)

Freedom and independence are my characteristics.

There are death and decay in a country lacking freedom.
The mother of development and liberation is freedom. (1906)

No matter how urgent the crises, those emerged from freedom are safer than under the fake security that the strong oppression provides. (1930)

In contemporary democracies, the individual freedoms have special value and importance.
From now on, these individual freedoms may be subject neither to the state nor to personal intervention.
However, such valuable individual freedom cannot be taken to be absolute in a civilized and democratic nation.
What is meant by freedom is social and civilized human freedom.
Therefore, while thinking of individual freedom, every individual’s and the entire nation’s common interests and the existence of the state must be taken into consideration.

The rights and freedoms of others and the nation’s common interests limit individual freedom.

Unconditional, unrestricted sovereignty belongs to the people.

— Mustafa Kemal Atatürk



Portrait of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, first presi...

Portrait of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, first president of the Republic of Turkey and a great leader. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Note:

It is really a shame to see that so much of this important leader his good works are destroyed over the last few years.

He was one of the courageous men who did think more of the people around him than about himself. He was one of those exceptions in history who embarked upon a program of political, economic, and cultural reforms, seeking to transform the former region  (the Ottoman Empire) into a modern, secular, and democratic nation-state. He understood that the future of a country lies in the education and therefore should the state bring free primary education. Also the foundation of a free society would be the primal condition, having its citizens with equal rights and the allowance to be religious like they prefer or to be non-religious. But with nobody charging the other to think or worship this or an other way.

It is a pity to notice that the sacrosanct fundamental pillars of the Atatürkish or Kemalist  ideology are now in danger.

  • What’s the point of a national curriculum? (educationechochamber.wordpress.com)
    It seems to me that there are many kinds of oppression but only two kinds of freedom; individual and collective. Individual freedom is effectively about the free market; you are free to choose the option that you prefer, provided that you can afford the cost. Collective freedom operates through the workings of democracy in a free society; a debate forms, all parties are free to express their opinions on the issues at hand without prejudice, and a decision is made by a democratic body that is binding on all concerned.
  • What kind of idea of freedom do we need for the working of a multicultural society? (diditwister.wordpress.com)
    excellence is proposed as an alternative to “freedom of indifference”, the nominalist understanding of freedom which is operant today. Freedom for excellence is the freedom that serves as a means to happiness and human flourishing.
  • Take a stand against government control of our lives (canadafreepress.com)
    In a discussion a few days ago a gentleman asked me, “what is Individual Freedom, or Liberty?” It really caused me pause for a moment, for I, like most Americans, have always taken it for granted. Since being born and raised in America, I have never personally experienced government oppression, as have so many billions of people all over this world throughout history. So I began a search to answer for myself the real meaning of Individual Freedom, and also Is America an exceptional country because of it? Barack Obama said publicly he does not believe it is. Hearing a president of the United States make that statement struck me like a bolt of lightning.
  • Freedom and democracy: Two sides of the same coin (trinidadexpress.com)
    The public debate which is currently being waged inside the Guardian and between that newspaper and the Express, is a fascinating mix of issues and personalities.

    Much heat is evident, generated to a large degree by individual vanities, personal and corporate, but there is an insufficiency of light mainly because the discussion is being conducted at cross-purposes. The protagonists are screaming at each other but in a language which is not common to both of them. The Guardian trumpets its position as a “guardian of democracy”; the Express beats the “drum of freedom”.

    Democracy and freedom are distinct through related concepts. Meaningful, popular, representative and participatory democracy is inconceivable without individual liberty or freedom. But “democracy” and “freedom” respectively asks and answers fundamentally different questions…
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    Democracy provides the basis for orderliness; the absence of it inevitably leads to anarchy and disorder. Freedom cannot thrive in disorder, anarchy, or anomie (normlessness).  On the other hand, the  Express appears to be extolling the value or virtue of individual liberty/freedom to such an extent that it is prepared to open the door of freedom of expression (freedom of the press) to irresponsibility. Its caveat in this regard, however, suggests that “this freedom to be irresponsible” ought to be avoided or contained but does not offer any signposts as to the extent to which this “irresponsibility” ought to be permitted.

     

  • National Security (jerryrscuba.wordpress.com)
    Where a serious problem arises is when the need for security is seen greater than the freedoms guaranteed by the constitution. The argument being founders could have never foreseen the technological advances of today. Maybe not but what they did see was a need to preserve the very principals that the country was founded on. The God given rights of a person to be free. With that, they built in many “firewalls” some of which have already been breached.
  • Intresting Subject (12ht2038.wordpress.com)
    Individual freedom means freedom from the controls and the powers to govern.

    Self-Reliance means people should take care of themselves and solve their own problems.
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    1787, when they (the British settlers) wrote the Constitution for their new nation, they separated church and state so that there would never be a goverment supported church. Also, they expressly forbade titles of nobility to ensure that an aristocratic would not develop.
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    Self-Reliance that is a price is paid for individual freedom. People can’t depend on the government to fix their lives. They have to take responsibility for life choices. We have to “stand on their own teo feet”. When people are dependent, they risk losing freedom and they may also lose the respect of their peers.

     

  • McCormick Freedom Project (local.answers.com)
    The McCormick Freedom Project in Chicago, formerly the McCormick Freedom Museum, promotes an informed participation in democracy by showing the importance of the First Amendment. The project demonstrates the role of the amendment in the struggle to defend and define freedom. Through widespread outreach initiatives, the audiences enhance their comprehension of the First Amendment as well as its importance to democracy, participate in civic dialogue, and prepare for their function as citizens. The McCormick Freedom Project falls under the McCormick Foundation. Initiated in 2006, the project aims to spread awareness via their mobile museum, their website, Discovery Trunks, and lesson plans.
  • Individual Freedom and Self Reliance (funnylifeofyuki.wordpress.com)
    If Individual Freedom and Self-reliance do not exist in US, everything will break. Individual Freedom means people can do what they want, and people choose their lives. The government can’t tell them what to do. Individual Freedom is the number one values in the US.
  • Values substituting order (podracky.wordpress.com)
    In a society controlled by natural principles values of freedom and equality are not discussed much; and these expressions are used like other terms for of descrition of a status quo. It is clear that freedom may not be perceived in a family where obvious mutual commitment and interdependence are present. In a democratic mechanism it is natural that there must be freedom of speech. In a market economy, freedom of creation and advertising is essential. Once, however, there is an unnatural state of oppression, dictatorship, or undeserved inequalities, these concepts become meaningful. Also, these values represent order in a society which lost it, and which overcame these natural mechanisms.
English: Human Rights logo: "FREE AS A MA...

Human Rights logo: « Free as a man ». Русский: Свободен как человек, победитель в международном конкурсе логотипа, символзириюущего Прав человека, http://humanrightslogo.net/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Posted in B4Peace, History, News and Politics, Religion, Thoughts of others | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Catherine Ashton on the EU annual report on human rights

KOSOVO-SERBIA-EU-ENLARGE-ASHTON

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has cast herself as a possible mediator between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian army. Photograph: AFP

In the previous months Catherine Ashton has said many times that she believes that human rights should be the silver thread that runs through all the statements and actions of the European Union.

I also do believe the European Union first has to show the people it is willing to be a union for all the people living on the European continent. Its main goal should be to take care that all human rights shall and will be respected by all citizens residing in this part of the world.

European Union

European Union (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We might be happy that we could some work to be done for the good of this cause over the last twelve months, thanks in no small part to Stavros Lambrinidis and the EEAS team led by Mara Marinaki, the working members of the EU have made a “significant reform” in their approach, their initiatives and their actions on human rights.

We can not say they came quickly to this reform. It took until last year before they adopted their strategic framework and action plan on human rights and democracy -agreed unanimously by Member States, and supported by the European  parliament at last through its high level human rights contact group.

Today the EU may be proud to have a human rights focal point officer in every EU delegation, as well as a Brussels based working group in the council. We have fully developed human rights country strategies and have a much stronger annual report which allows parliament and civil society to measure their performance against their commitments.

“The substantial restructuring of the report makes it a much more effective tool for our ongoing work. It specifically responds to the request of the parliament by following the structure of the action plan and highlighting concrete achievements and challenges.”

“The report also demonstrates the steps we have taken to increase our inter-ins and our policy coherence, visibility and effectiveness across our work. I believe we have made significant progress in these areas.” says Catherine Ashton.

In June she highlighted especially the appointment of an EUSR for human rights – the first – under their guidance and Ashton’s mandate. She paied tribute to his energy, his commitment and his determination.

He has worked with over 100 Ministers and Ambassadors across the world, worked closely with you and with the teams on the ground to raise the profile of human rights. He has also worked closely with civil society in Europe and in other countries and helped to secure really important changes.

The protection of NGOs and human rights defenders is a core priority of both Stavros and my mandate. He has actively engaged with over 150 international and local NGOs from 30 countries to safeguard their space to function freely and to promote our support. I thank him most warmly and look forward to many more achievements in the future.
Stavros knows better than anyone that this support is not just financial but also political, legal and diplomatic. In that regard I’d like to underline the tremendous value of the Parliament’s Sakharov prize.

2012 was a challenging year for civil society in many countries. There is a worrying trend in some countries to limit the space through legislation, court action and restrictions – particularly with regard to foreign funding. I ma happy to hear that the EU also believes that safeguarding the work of civil society is fundamental to the work of the EU. The safeguarding freedom of association and peaceful assembly must remain at the top of the EU agenda.

I have expressed our concerns on developments in statements but also in person. And I will continue to do so – and with Stavros’ help and the work of our delegations we will continue to try and ensure civil society is given the space they need, and that governments – old and new; transitional or permanent understand that this is fundamental to the perception of them, fundamental to the kind of society they wish to create.

NGOs and civil society should keep push the boundaries, to watch over the way governments work. They even may make governments and politicians uncomfortable. We cannot afford to sit or stand still.

Europe is constantly changing and the last few years we even have seen a revolutionary change in the faith of people in their churches or congregations. Many people where dissatisfied by the Roman Catholic Church and where disgusted by all the scandals in that church. The protestant denominations also saw many people leaving their congregations.

At the same time the Christian faith was diminishing the Islamic faith growth was astonishing and for some people a little bit frightening. but that fear for certain religions should be avoided by giving people enough information on those upcoming religions and faith-groups. Certain groups so called to work against cults do not help for a better understanding.

In 2012 we also saw the difficulty faced by many who seek to practice their faith and have the freedom of belief, or none. We make it clear this is an inalienable human right and an essential pillar of society. It is an integral part of our political dialogues with third countries.

It will be very important that at school the children learn about the other religions and cultures. Knowledge shall take away a lot of wrong ideas and the thereby caused fear. Europe should have the priority to be a state of free ideas and freedom of speech and religion. For that reason it is worthy the the EU has spoken out to condemn religious intolerance and discrimination – whether in Egypt, Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Pakistan, Tunisia and elsewhere.

Be under no doubt that our aim in speaking is to achieve results – we know, for example that the statements made in Tripoli contributed to the release of Egyptian Christians held in Libya. The importance of this issue is why we wanted our new guidelines and why we have consulted widely to make sure that they have a strong and clear content. I am grateful again to the human rights committee for their valuable input.

But with certain fundamentalist groups becoming stronger in several European countries it looks like some people want to turn the clock backward into the forties and fifties of the previous century. There is good reason to be worried about the discrimination in some countries based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Though I would agree several politicians tried to make it discussable and contributed to the multilateral efforts especially in the UN as well as at regional and bilateral level.

Catherine Ashton and her team do agree that they have here too developed practical EU guidelines to be adopted by the Council which should reinforce the work of the EU.

We have raised our deep concerns with Uganda and Cameroon about proposed parliamentary bills further criminalizing homosexuality. In Malawi we have spoken out against the prison sentences on gay couples and against recent events in Nigeria. We use our regular dialogues to raise this discrimination and to promote tolerance – supporting campaigns in Russia, Croatia, Turkey, Montenegro and Brazil to support local and international NGOs in campaigns against discrimination.

When we look at our changing world we should also continue to be concerned about what is happening to women and girls. No society can function well, no economy do as well as it should, without the input of the rich talent and ability of half its population – women and girls. But we cannot allow that those women and girls in other countries can be used as slaves for our society in our materialist capitalist countries. Incidents like in Bangladesh should put Europe and the United States of America into shame.

We may be pleased that we could see the successful adoption of conclusions at the recent 57th session of the UN commission on the status of women. But we may not overlook that it has not been easy. Some countries tried to water down the unconditional condemnation of violence against women through appeals to – domestic traditions, laws and cultures.

It was the tireless work of our EU delegations that was largely responsible for the defeat of those attempts. We are united in our belief that there are no acceptable circumstances for violence against women. No place where the failure to allow girls to be educated is acceptable. No society that can hold its head up where women are forced to keep their heads down.

So we continue our strong engagement in implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 – with support of 200 million euros a year for the development and implementation of national action plans, funding for NGOs and training.

And we strengthened our commitment further with a memorandum of understanding with UN women that forms the basis of a partnership to help us make progress in our international commitments.

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In a series of articles at the Brethren of Christ (Broeders in Christus = Christadelphians) you may find some reasons why so much went wrong in the different faithgroups. One of the major problems is that our society has become more interested in gaining material richness instead of spiritual richness and a healthy environment for humankind, fauna and flora.

Materialism, would be life, and aspirations present the onset to look at the different generations, how they behaved and worked on the relation to each other and to nature.

In Materialisme, “would be” leven en aspiraties #1 it is mentioned how most people came to look for the coolest gadgets, the trendiest clothes, bigger and better things, in the hope to be more happy and to have a better world. Though often they forget how others have to work hard for their dreams to become true. Most of the people their new religion became the idolisation of sport-, television and film stars. those figures in the picture became the modern gods. but by choosing for those gods they lost track with the real Creator of all things and forgot His Words. Even the time that certain people went looking into the older Eastern spiritual books has far gone. People have gone via Buddhist atomism to materialism.

Greed and jealousy has mad many people blind so that they can not stand that others could create a better world for themselves. For some it looks like children have become also such a sort of material possession and the women has become again the prey for many man who boast about their many trophies, having gone to bed with so many. This ‘objectisation’ of people has become a dangerous trend in Europe and we do have to fight against it. Certain fundamentalist groups as well in Christianity as in Islam want to place the man as the superior being.

Democracia real YA Madrid.jpg

Real Democracy Now; series of protests demanding a radical change in Spanish politics, as protesters do not consider themselves to be represented by any traditional party nor favoured by the measures approved by politicians.
The first protest was called under the motto “we are not goods in the hands of politicians and bankers” and was focused on opposition to what the protesters called “antisocial means in the hands of bankers”.

In Materialisme, “would be” leven en aspiraties #5 is looked at the hippie culture and protest movements which were largely abandoned until the current crisis as a protest movement and indignados, or ‘outraged’ (the May 15 movement) and an Occupy Movement came forward again.

Movimiento 15-M of the Indignados was a spontaneous and international protest and action movement, founded in Spain in 2011 where again the young people reacted against capitalism, the economic situation and the greed of banks and included the rejection of the current political system, capitalism, banks and political corruption. However by those protesters we could notice many people who were not aware themselves that they are as just a victim of capitalism as a cause of the materialist system themselves. They also fell under the spell of matter and could still not make themselves free from materialism.

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Materialisme, “would be” leven en aspiraties #2

Materialisme, “would be” leven en aspiraties #3

Materialisme, “would be” leven en aspiraties #4

Materialisme, “would be” leven en aspiraties #5

Also of interest:

Hello America and atheists

  • How Baroness Ashton engineered a secret meeting at dead of night with Morsi (theguardian.com)
    Baroness Catherine Ashton doesn’t need much sleep, which is fortunate, because as the EU foreign policy chief she doesn’t get much of it.
    She won’t discuss her conversation with Morsi, but Ashton does admit that their meeting left her feeling more hopeful than not about the future for Egypt as a stable democracy. “I think the Egyptian nation is full of people who want to find a way to go forward, so the task really is to work out the criteria,” she says. “Democracy is not just about an election, it’s about the guarantee of elections to come, and it’s about every single thing that we take for granted as institutions that help support our democracy.”
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    After her meeting with Morsi, Ashton has cast herself as a potential mediator in the disputes between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military. Both sides appear to respect her impartiality.”Egypt is at the beginning of what is an important and what will be a bumpy journey,” she says. “When you’re able to represent 28 nations [as an EU commissioner], they’ve all been through all kinds of turmoil. We’ve got people who really do understand about transition, about developing a democracy, about how difficult it can be. They know about the aftermath of war, they know about all sorts of things, and all of that wonderful tapestry of knowledge is available and some can be useful.”

    Ashton is stepping down next year, but if Egypt’s warring factions do sit down around a negotiating table the chances are that Ashton will have played a key role in getting them there.

  • EU Should Demand Release Of Bahrain Activists, Says HRW (eurasiareview.com)
    European Union (EU) High Representative Catherine Ashton should pursue with Bahrain the immediate release of 13 high-profile activists and others detained or imprisoned for peacefully exercising their rights, says Human Rights Watch. Ashton will attend an EU-Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) ministerial meeting in Bahrain on June 30, 2013.The 13 activists, two of whom hold citizenship in EU countries, are serving long-term or life prison sentences solely for exercising their rights to free expression and peaceful assembly. On June 27, the EU’s special representative on human rights, Stavros Lambrinidas, tweeted a call for release of the activists after he visited some of them in Jaw prison in Bahrain’s capital, Manama. But the call has not been issued in more specific terms, no names have been publicly mentioned, and the EU high representative remains silent.

    “If human rights are truly at the center of the EU’s foreign relations as its ministers have pledged, then the high representative and member states need to show it at the EU-GCC meeting by vigorously pressing for the release of the Bahraini activists,” said Lotte Leicht, EU director at Human Rights Watch. “If they don’t, they will consign human rights to the margins of the EU’s foreign policy, undermine their own credibility, and leave the activists they had promised to support suffering in prison.”

  • Ashton’s visit to Egypt: Sign of leadership?! (yerelce.wordpress.com)
    The people of Egypt will determine their own future and those who have the privilege to be in leadership positions have the responsibility to ensure that that happens. We have some experience that might be of value and we can help by having conversations with everyone, to listen, and to be able to offer some thoughts. And that includes elections in the future that we said we would be very happy to observe. And help with the process. And we recognize the importance of what is going to happen in terms of the constitution and the people working on that. I will be talking later this morning with Mohamed ElBaradei again and I will of course stand ready to come back to Egypt if I can be of further service.
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    More:

  • [Opinion] EU human rights strategy: one year on (euobserver.com)
    Exactly one year ago EU foreign ministers adopted an ambitious new strategic framework on human rights and democracy. The appointment of an EU Special Representative for Human Rights and the adoption of 36 key objectives, ranging from the fight against the death penalty to the protection of children’s rights, were supposed to help bridge the gap between rhetoric and reality and integrate human rights across the EU’s external policies.
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    the EU’s human rights policy has failed to live up to expectations. A report last week by the European Court of Auditors found that EU development aid to Egypt intended to promote human rights and good governance has largely been squandered. Much of it went directly to the Egyptian authorities, who refused to commit to human rights and democracy programmes, while 4 million euros allocated to civil society groups was subsequently cancelled.At the same time, the rights of minorities and women in Egypt have deteriorated, freedom of speech has been curtailed and there has been a deeply worrying clampdown on pro-democracy NGOs – including the imprisonment of 43 NGO workers and the drafting of a new law which would ban foreign NGOs from operating in the country unless approved by the state. Despite all these developments, the European Commission has failed to propose suspending any of the 1 billion euros of aid committed to Egypt since 2007.
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    Meanwhile the EU’s first Special Representative for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, is currently visiting Bahrain, but it appears he has not been given a strong enough mandate to openly criticise the Bahraini government. I hope that at next week’s EU-Gulf Cooperation Council in Manama, EU foreign ministers will take a firmer position and call for the immediate release of political prisoners and for steps to be taken towards democratic reform.
    +EU arrest warrant needs urgent reform
  • EU’s top diplomat meets with detained Morsi in Egypt (foxnews.com)
    Ashton was not blindfolded, but the location of her meeting with Morsi remained shrouded in mystery and EU officials put their `’faith fully in the interim authorities to make sure that she got there safely and returned safely which is what turned out to be the case. Everything was fine,” EU spokesman Michael Mann said.

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    Egypt’s army-backed administration originally said they were holding Morsi for his own safety, but last week authorities announced he was being detained pending an investigation into allegations he conspired with the Palestinian militant group Hamas to enable him and several other Brotherhood members to escape from prison during the 2011 uprising against Mubarak.

  • Moving Egypt back to the democratic path (dailynewsegypt.com)
    Even in a country as turbulent as Egypt is today, some traditions transcend the sharpest divisions and provide brief periods of calm. Last week, on my drive into Cairo we saw very few cars. The city’s legendary traffic jams had disappeared. It was just after dusk. People were at home with their families, breaking the daily fast during Ramadan. For a few precious hours, rival groups were putting their differences on hold.

    Catherine Ashton

    Catherine Ashton

  • EU’s top diplomat says Egypt’s Morsi doing ‘well’ (news.yahoo.com)
    Egypt’s detained ex-president is well and keeping up to date with developments through news media, the top EU diplomat said Monday after she made the first visit since a military coup deposed him July 3.
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    Despite ElBaradei’s appeal, neither side showed any sign of willingness to make the concessions needed for reconciliation. The Brotherhood rejects calls to work with the new leaders, insists that Morsi be reinstated and called for more protests on Tuesday.The government, meanwhile, has made no conciliatory gestures in its crackdown on the Brotherhood and has forged ahead with a transition plan that provides for parliamentary and presidential elections early next year.
  • EU’s Ashton: Morsi Is ‘Well’ (newsy.com)
    She’s the first outsider to meet face to face with Egypt’s Mohamed Morsi since his overthrow nearly a month ago. “He’s in good health. He’s in good humor.” (Via BBC ) The European Union’s Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton spent a reported two hours with the ousted president at an undisclosed location.
Posted in News and Politics, Religion | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Interview: Elise Shea, Indiana Ballet Conservatory student, Paris Opera Ballet summer intensive attendee

Only by strong will and hard work any person, be it male or female, can become a good performer in the dance-world. the training demands a variety of rigorous classes that prepare them for the diversity of the world of magic, but where those who have to create the illusion have to work very hard to make this believe world true.

The Young Artist Feature.

Elisa Shea, Indiana Ballet Conservatory student, Paris Opera Ballet summer intensive attendee

Image

Every little girl that ever waltzed around their living room in a skirt made of tulle shared a similar dream: To dance in Paris; the most grandiose of ideals that seemed to illustrate all things ballet. From Indiana to France, this summer, that dream became reality for Indiana Ballet Conversatory student Elise Shea.

The dream didn’t stop there: Not only was the Vaganova-trained dancer accepted to Paris Opera Ballet’s prestigious summer intensive, she was also placed in the highest level. After following her teacher Alyona Yakovleva from Ballet International to the Russian Ballet Academy of Indiana to the Indiana Ballet Conservatory, Shea’s unwavering dedication to her craft is undoubtedly one reason for her success. Referring to herself as a “full time dance student and full time academic student,” we have a feeling that Paris is only the beginning…

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Sacrifices to be made

 

Alexey Torgunakov - The ballet dancer of the B...

Alexey Torgunakov – The ballet dancer of the Bolshoi theatre of Russia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Balet may be a dream of many girls and of some boys. Parents sometimes forget the hard work the children will have to face and the social impact of the dancers life.

 

But those born a dancer will never regret the choice they have made. It is an incredible world, which they will not miss for gold. No matter what they want to become sacrifices shall have to be made and from all those who want to become a prima ballerina it will be only a very few who will reach the top. But many would also be happy to become a corps de ballet dancer and enjoy the many opportunities to dance and to bring spectators in an other world.

 

Statue of Anna Pavlova on the dome of the Vict...

Statue of Anna Pavlova on the dome of the Victoria Palace Theatre in London who made her London debut there. The original statue was made in 1911, a year after the theatre had been rebuilt by Frank Matcham for the impressario Alfred Butt. Unfortunately the great prima ballerina was extremely superstitious and refused to look at it. The original statue was removed in 1939 for safe keeping during the Blitz, but unfortunately disappeared. it was replaced by a replica in 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The Maryinksy stage is so great that your heart can do nothing else than pounding when you go on it for the first time. That experience gets the fire even burning higher and the child gets motivated more to endure all the hardships to go along the path of magic.

 

Exercises, rehearsals, exams, tests and evaluations are a never ending process which may be, at moments, stressful. Each person wanting to dance has to be a very strong person with lots of character and stamina. If the dancer is turned down her of his self esteem may suffer. You have to be very strong mentally and physically to face up to the challenge.

 

Sometimes the corps the ballet dancer may be more lucky or feeling more happy than the solo dancer who is not always sure to get her next solo or having enough to dance. The most annoying part the last few years is that there has come a bad attitude into the sphere of the theatre, with people not respecting the others and envying them.

 

I remember the love for each other and the big family feeling, which I do miss a lot now I am not any more working in the theatre world. The last few years the jealousy grow and we got even to hear about certain things which we could never allow to happen in our company or at a contest. Certain people today dare to go out of their boundaries and even bring others into pain to reach their goal, at the cost of others. Today sometimes it takes some time before others can accept that an other one has become a solo dancer, instead of being happy for her and supporting her in her new position.

 

It is the hard work, making those children an adult before their age, having all those ‘battles’ and ‘drama’ making them the artist we need to have to bring characters to live on stage. You may not like it that they do have to give up their childhood, but the job is such a demanding job the theatre is only able to present the great magic because of such hard training and a life which should be given totally to the theatre, because otherwise it will not be working. In theatre it is for sure you can not serve two masters. No sacrifice may ever be too great. but no training may be too painful.

 

Dancer heart

Dancer heart (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

In the many amateur, semi professional and professional schools some of the parents are scarily invested, and some teachers dangerously pushy. Most often the pushy parents are more dangerous for the child than those demanding teachers.

 

When the child is born with the dance microbe is shall be willing enough to work hard and when others will see them actually dancing it shall be shiningly evident that they’re hard-wired to do what they do. These children make most sense of themselves by dancing.

 

Bess Kargman’s First Position of 2011 also portrays the hardship of those willing dancers.

 

She brings a a portrait of child ballet students viewed through the drama of an annual competition, the Youth American Grand PrixThe hard-sell editing of its trailer sets us up to expect a reality TV-fest of pain, sacrifice, and sheer human weirdness. But the documentary itself is far from being a freak show, because Kargman’s camera focuses with such exceptional steadiness and acuity on the child competitors themselves.

 

According to   it’s a film everyone should watch who’s involved in the debate over gifted children – in music, sports, academic subjects as well as ballet.

 

“With each of the stories, we’re shown that there’s no easy answer to the questions of where encouragement ends and abuse begins, of how far talent should take priority over a normal childhood.”

 

For those wanting to become a dancer, I would say “Follow your dream”, but know also that you have to be willing to “serve” and to be a servant for the art of performance, which always should come into the first place. The art itself should always be the prime goal. In case you put yourself on the first row to be the prime goal, you are starting off on the wrong foot. Never believe everything shall go smoothly and be prepared to walk on roses to reach the clouds.
Good luck and Go for it!

 

Very few succeed, but all those who managed to go through the battle shall have conquered so much they shall have a great life, when they always honestly went on the right track never to regret the choice they made to become a dancer.

 

Make the dream becoming your life!

 

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  • Carol McFadden is a Brazilian ballet dancer (cmcmcmcmm.wordpress.com)
    Carol McFadden is a Brazilian ballet dancer who performs as a principal dancer with the Pacific Northwest Ballet.McFadden was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and grew up in São Leopoldo, taking classes at Ballet Vera Bublitz in Porto Alegre.There she performed Balachine’s Apollo with Peter Boal, who encouraged her to train in New York City. In 1996, at the age of 15, she moved to the United States to enter into the School of American Ballet.
  • Santa Monica Teen To Dance In American Ballet Theatre’s “Le Corsaire” (smmirror.com)
    Unlike most aspiring professional dancers, Fitzpatrick began her formal ballet training at age 12 after seeing Yuri Griogoriev School of Ballet’s summer intensive course.“After seeing the Yuri Griogoriev summer intensive I knew I wanted to dance with them,” Fitzpatrick said. “The dancers were so passionate and the teachers seemed so committed.”

    Having dabbled in recreational dance when she was younger, Fitzpatrick did not find herself passionate about what she was doing.

  • Ballet pointe dance pose idea: closeup headshot (janelogancato.typepad.com)
    Ballet pointe student dancer in white velvet tulle platter tutu with glitter and sparkly sequins, crown and feather headpiece, armpieces, and crystal circular earrings.
  • Summer fun as dancers get in step (oxfordmail.co.uk)
    During the summer holidays, the theatre is organising a series of workshops from dance and drama to musical theatre for children.
  • Team Beckanne: A Response to Breaking Pointe’s First Episode (dressingroomwriters.wordpress.com)
    If Sisk’s name sounds familiar, it is because her impressive talent made her a household name in the dance world long before Breaking Pointe. After being awarded a full scholarship to the Rock School of Dance Education (where she trained until 2010), Sisk competed in the Youth America Grand Prix and was a reigning New York City finalist for roughly four years. Additionally, she attended summer intensives all over the country, including American Ballet Theatre, Miami City Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet, and received the Jerome Robbins Scholarship Award in 2007. Now a Soloist with Ballet West, this is Sisk’s second season appearing on Breaking Pointe.
  • My Very Exciting Life Right Now (underwaterraven.wordpress.com)
    I inevitably spend hours watching videos in a vicious pattern which usually goes: whatever I came on YouTube to watch in the first place –> Supernatural outtakes –> ‘How Animals Eat Their Food’ (I swear to God it never gets old) –> ‘Dramatic Chipmunk’ (again, it’s a classic), and then I eventually get onto the really random videos, like the ‘I Take a Look at my Enormous Penis’ song, which actually gets funnier every time I listen to it.
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    I continued to contemplate ballet and I concluded that I’m going to marry a ballet dancer, because then he can dance around the house for me all the time and prepare food while doing brisés and en dedans.
  • Male Ballet Dancers [audiomo] (sassycat3000.net)

 

  • “Breaking Pointe” Season Two – a Look Ahead With Allison De Bona of Ballet West (adriaballetbeat.com)
    We loved the first season’s inside peek at Salt Lake City’s Ballet West – the exhausting rehearsals, the behind-the-scenes drama, the striking stage productions. Dance fans loved seeing ballet dancers in a different light than what they see in performance, and wanted more.
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    It seems people still cannot get past the preconceived notions of eating disorders and homosexual male dancers. We really tried to be advocates for healthy, smart, and strong athletes through our actions. We also tried to get people to understand that it doesn’t matter if you’re gay, straight or in between. It’s about being an artist and doing what you love. Overall, I feel we got people interested to see live performances of ballet and helped the art form gain more respect. I am proud of that.

 

(L-R): Allison DeBona and Christiana Bennet -- Photo: Erik Ostling/The CW --© 2013 THE CW NETWORK, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

(L-R): Allison DeBona and Christiana Bennet — Photo: Erik Ostling/The CW –© 2013 The CW Network, LLC.

 

  • Young ballet dancers: are we trying to catch a swan before it hatches?
    Watch teeny tiny Alexei Orohovsky attempting his own joyously unselfconscious version of the same solo and the cute factor is stratospheric.But there are already several postings of Alexei up on YouTube, starting from when he was two-and-a-half years old. And while I wouldn’t question the love and pride of those who are posting (presumably his parents), nor the innate promise of Alexei’s dancing, I’m nervous of a culture that puts so much public exposure and expectation on one small talent.

 

Posted in Ballet + Dance/Dans | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Detroit, A city not to be understood

Last week, the mayor of Detroit, America’s 18th largest city and the home of the flagship of Main Street America, the US auto industry, filed for bankruptcy with debts hitting $18-20bn.  On the same week, the behemoths of Wall Street, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan etc announced profits nearly back to their pre-crisis levels.

A few days ago I looked at may beautiful photographs of the spook-town, which looked worse than the spook towns I encountered a few years ago in Sicily.

I let my head turn round thousands of time, imagining the opportunity of certain groups finding a heaven on earth, making it possible for them, and also for me, to crate there a new community. I saw a beautiful house for only 15.000 American dollars.

Detroit, the proud of the American nation, once the most flourishing and promising city, pulling eyes from as far as Europe. Detroit was once a symbol of America’s postwar might, the seat of industry, the heart and soul of organized labour.

The venerable high-rise hotels — once symbols of Detroit’s glamorous history as the nation’s hub of innovation and productivity, now pillaged hulks — have drawn millions of dollars in investment to the city’s center.

What went wrong?

Greed, proud, megalomaniac projects and spending others money like nothing to  lose is according to me one of the possibilities, plus mismanagement, neglect, and, according to the emergency manager, corruption.

Some blame the benefits, but they do not want to see the benefits would not have killed any city in case they where administered rightly and people did not make misuse of them.

The opponents of benefits mistakenly say that Detroit was the place where the whole concept of health care benefits to employees was created.

During World War II there were wage and price controls.  Companies therefore needed ways to attract really qualified employees and since they couldn’t pay them any more money, they had to come up with something that wasn’t controlled, and that would have been something they had to invent.

So they invented the benefit.  In this case, the health insurance benefit.  And it’s one of the things that ends up doing Detroit in.  That and unions, that and the pensions.  Detroit is a city, I think the last Republican mayor in Detroit was 1957.  Detroit has been run unchecked by liberal Democrats for 40-plus, 50 years.  It’s bankrupt.  But there are some facts about the fall of Detroit that will just stun and amaze you.  Every one of these facts comes from a news story about the subject, every one of these 25.  I’m gonna take a time-out here and we’ll come back and I’ll run through this list.  And I will review some of the statistics about Detroit’s greatness in years gone by. {Rush Limbaugh}

Blaming benefits and pensions is forgetting that in case you want to create a pension fund you have to use the money into that fund properly and invest it so that it can bring enough money to pay out the retired people where it is to be for. Saying now that Detroit’s $18 billion in debt is due primarily to its pension obligations, which comprise about $8 billion of its total shortfall is not recognising that the ones in charge of that pension fund did not do their work properly.  The second factor is the money that the city owes to bond holders, which was borrowed through the years to cover urban projects and other obligations. But their it is overlooked that the city like to play Sancta Claus not having the appropriate means. It looks like the socialist did in the sixties and seventies in Belgium, presenting Belgium with a huge debt and causing the country to have big problems in the 1980ies until now. Unpaid taxes, disappearing jobs, empty factories have all played a role, too.

“And Detroit is only the opening act even if its problems are unique to a city in secular decline and dilapidation (35 per cent of its residents are on food stamps, the population is down some 2/3 since the city’s peak as an industrial powerhouse in 1960,” said chief economist David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff + Associates.

“Chicago is the next culprit, underlined by its huge credit rating downgrade last week. Not to mention various municipalities in California.”

Scarred by decades of political corruption and neglect, Detroit has begun what many people believe is a painful yet necessary transition.

I do find it a pity not more people, when the auto-mobile industry left town, did not take the effort to change route in the city itself. By leaving the city, they gave way to let everything become worse. By going to look for other pastures they left Detroit’s budget problems to grow for the worse, because they are tied to the city’s declining population. Reaching a peak of 1.85 million people in the 1950 Census, white and now middle-class black flight has caused a loss of more than 60 percent of its population. The population fell to 713,000 in 2010 and is believed to be less than 700,000. As people left, property assessments were increased to make up for revenue losses. Many services were gutted, which made Detroit less safe and less desirable.

Though Detroit might have been the Motor City one of every four households in the city limits does not have access to an automobile. Public transit is lacking, which leaves the city’s poorest residents land-locked. Many residents struggle just to find rides to supermarkets.

The illiteracy did not help to get people at work in other fields than hand-labour. The city’s once-reputable school system plunged far below mediocrity.

“It’s been going on for 50 years,” said Sheila Cockrel, 65, a lifelong Detroiter and a Wayne State University professor who spent 16 years on Detroit City Council. “It’s the can that’s been kicked down the road by various mayors and city councils.”

Detroit has regained the first place on the news screen again, but this time with continuous bad news and violence. Some even say it has become again America’s most violent city.

People are not only robbed of their income by thieves, also the taxes are some of the highest in the United States.

When you go around in the town or when you look at the many pictures taken in this drowning city you cannot ignore the many signs of misery — hundreds if not thousands of burned out, abandoned, and boarded-up homes and buildings. some pictures give the impression that we are looking at a war zone or that there has passed a hurricane.

Having to face a to big burden and avoiding to drown more into the swamp we can understand many people who had the the ability to flee did so long ago, leaving some neighbourhoods so barren the city has turned off traffic lights and street lights to save money.
Locals complain there are so few police officers to canvass the city’s vast 139 square miles that waiting time for 911 calls are 30 minutes or longer.

Today, not only is nearly half of Detroit’s 138 square mile area vacant, beautiful architecture is left with no hope of use. There is simply not enough demand to sustain the amount and character of architecture. The city is a case study for methods of dealing with shrinking cities. As famous American boomtowns once existed, their counterparts exist today; cities such as Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Pittsburgh have all lost around 50% of their population over the past 50 years. The commonality that exists is the industrial based economy, the variable being the social adaptation to industrial decline. Detroit has fared worst in terms of this variable, and the photos here of  zfein.com illustrate that.

Abandoned City of Detroit

Detroit Urban Meadow

Michigan Central Station

Residents seem to have less faith in city government and more in fearless entrepreneurs who have persuaded them that they have embraced the city’s iconic soul.

Many Detroiters believe the city’s future lies not so much in a state-appointed financial manager as in venture capitalists with undying loyalty to Detroit, such as Quicken Loans founder and chairman Dan Gilbert.

I also do think the city only can be saved by residents believing again in their city and giving their soul to make something again from their city.

For certain groups, religious organisations, sects, communions, there is also a fair amount of space to make their dreams come true and to build up their own community. If I would have been American, I would have gone straight ahead to Detroit and bought some houses for creating a home for like minded Christians, willing to share their love with all sorts of people, indigenous, black and white, Christians, other religious people, atheists, to build up a ‘new world’.

Here the American soul can find again the bare grounds their ancestors found. A place to start anew, but this time the fields have been prepared by others … the constructions to start are already there.

With 100.000 U.S.Dollar, where in an other place could be done not much, there in Detroit a lot could be done. In case of those people living there taking up the courage not to think in the real American dollar value, but more in the value of time and activity what they can do for each other, the city has the plausible opportunity to saw seeds for some new grains coming up and bringing shrubs to bring forth some fruits to make future preserves.

100 Abandoned Houses is the name of the latest project of photographer Kevin Bauman. Photographing abandonment in Detroit since the mid 90’s, Bauman always found it “amazing, depressing, and perplexing that a once great city could find itself in such great distress, all the while surrounded by such affluence”.

He shows many houses which I would not mind having to live in or buildings having to bring entertainment to the population.

Also other photographers can present me with nice houses, which are not finding a new owner.

Detroit has one of the largest collections of theatres in the U.S. outside of New York. This is one still looking good

A Downtown Detroit Movie Palace falls apart.

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Positive news:

Most of the city looks abandoned and broken down. But companies such as Quicken Loan, the mortgage originator, have moved into these cheaper areas and are buying up property by the street. Chrysler recently opened its first new Detroit-based corporate office in decades. Whole Foods, the upmarket food chain, has also opened its first outlet in Motown. And in September the city will break ground on its first urban tramline since the 1930s.Meanwhile back in Wall Street, all is bright and light.  Pre-crisis levels of profits are back.  The major banks made a combined $17.6bn in second-quarter net income, the best since the same period six years ago.

> Detroit: motors, money and the municipality

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Please do find:

  1. By the rivers of Babylon: Glory days gone, Detroit faces legal ‘war’
  2. Entrepreneurs try to recapture Detroit’s glory Public sector failures prompt private citizens to take a chance
  3. Abandoned City of Detroit Zfein com photography od Detroit
  4. Detroit’s Abandoned Houses
  5. Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre ruins of Detroit
  6. Detroit: A decaying, murderous, abandoned city
  7. The Ruins of the Metroplex – Part 1
  8. Director Julien Temple charted Detroit’s demise in film Requiem for Detroit, a BBC programme made by Julien Temple in 2010, charted the Detroit’s demise.
Woodward Avenue

Woodward Avenue – by Marchand Meffre

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  • Chrysler Sticks With ‘Imported From Detroit’ Despite City’s Bankruptcy (eugenebbenton.wordpress.com)
    Once upon a time, the city of Detroit was a teeming metropolis of 1.8 million people and it had the highest per capita income in the United States.  Now it is a rotting, decaying hellhole of about 700,000 people that the rest of the world makes jokes about.  On Thursday, we learned that the decision had been made for the city of Detroit to formally file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.  It was going to be the largest municipal bankruptcy in the history of the United States by far, but on Friday it was stopped at least temporarily by an Ingham County judge.
  • Detroit’s Demise, a bigger problem than you think (drozdtalk.wordpress.com)
    I’ve read countless of articles on the reasons why Detroit has fallen into the gutter, and so far, all I know is that some of the “best” minds looking at this problem, to put it in simple terms, continue to scratch their heads. They don’t know why.No one understands the Real reasons why Detroit is where it is.
    +I lived in Windsor, Ontario for 5 years and would visit Detroit on a fairly regular basis. I like the city. To me, the stereotypes are wrong. I’ve personally not encountered problems their and found the people to be very accommodating and nice. It’s difficult reading all the news about this bankruptcy.
  • Detroit as metaphor (theuniversalspectator.wordpress.com)
    Liberalism is not oppressive as much as it is depressive, and there is no better example of this than Detroit. With its 48 unions and nearly $20 billion in debt — an entire third of which is unfunded healthcare liabilities for city retirees — Detroit saw its peak population of nearly 2,000,000 in 1950 dwindle to about 700,000 today. Of those 700,000, a third live under the poverty level and a fifth are unemployed.
  • What Liberalism Has Done To Detroit (tarpon.wordpress.com)
    Back in 1960, the city of Detroit actually had the highest per-capita income in the entire nation. And then 60 of the population left … Today less than half of the residents of Detroit over the age of 16 are working at this point.
  • How Democrats and Unions Destroyed Detroit (conservativebyte.com)
    To the first African-American mayor of a major U.S. city, equating the police with criminals was a way of telling his overwhelmingly black constituency that he understood their concerns about police brutality and civil rights.
  • Unchecked Liberalism Killed Detroit (rushlimbaugh.com)
    Detroit, Michigan, was at one time one of the great cities in the world.  It was among the richest and most successful cities in this country.  It was the envy of the world, primarily because the assembly line to mass produce automobiles was invented there, and the automobile industry’s home was Detroit.  Motown, Berry Gordy. It was the envy of the world, and now it’s the biggest city in the United States to ever go bankrupt.  And why?  Two things, that are actually under the same umbrella:  unions and unchecked liberalism have led to the bankruptcy of Detroit.
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    Sixty years ago, Detroit had the highest per capita income in the entire nation.  Sixty years ago, more people earned more money in Detroit than anywhere else. Sixty years ago, Detroit was the fourth largest city in America.  In the last 60 years, Detroit has lost 63% of its population.  Now, I’ll give you some fascinating facts, compiled here by the Economic Collapse blog.  Every one of these facts is the result of a news story.
  • Detroit City Comeback May Be Harder Than for Big 3 (hispanicbusiness.com)
    Automakers were able to shed most of their problems in bankruptcy court and come out leaner and more competitive. The city can get rid of its gargantuan debt, but a bankruptcy judge can’t bring back residents or raise its dwindling revenue.
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    Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is sympathetic but says the city is in dire straits.”We really want to empathize with their situation,” he said. “A lot of people worked hard for the city for a lot of years. They’re on a fixed income. We all need to appreciate that can be a difficult situation. This is a very difficult situation overall, though.”Snyder wouldn’t say if pension or health benefits would be cut, but he said the city has to deal with its unfunded pension liabilities. The pensions have “somewhere north of 50 percent” of the assets needed to pay all benefits, he said.The state, Miller said, will likely have to come up with cash to help Detroit through the bankruptcy until its tax base grows, just like the federal government helped GM and Chrysler. But Snyder said that shouldn’t be expected.Any savings from cutting pensions could be used to provide better services, said John Pottow, a University of Michigan professor specializing in bankruptcy and corporate law. “It’s also going to help people who want to have the police show up or their garbage collected.”
  • Detroit bankruptcy. The war between pensioners and banks begins (polizeros.com)
    Will the pensioners come before the bondholders in the Detroit bankruptcy? Right now, the plan is for bondholders to get 75% and pensioners to be kicked to the curb and get 10-20%. However, a judge has halted the bankruptcy saying the Michigan Constitution blocks pensions from being reduced. In addition, it sure looks like banksters and other vultures want to privatize and loot whatever can. Make no mistake, this is a multi-level war that will be fought for years to come
Posted in Crisis, Dagboek = Diary | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

What comes after neoliberalism?

The build up after the second world war was partly a matter of using those destroyed countries as opportunities to get cheap labour, but as soon as they became more expensive Americans but also European industry started to look at the East-bloc countries, and when they became integrated in the re-united Europe and became more expensive, so the industrialists started looking at Pakistan, India and China, to let people work in very bad conditions and have child labour for not much money, enabling them to gain much more and charging quite a lot for very cheap goods, pretending it is high quality and a brand product with a name to count, knowing that the consumers do want to pay for the name and are not so much interested where the product comes from, by whom it is made under which conditions. They are taken by the capitalist dream, which they do not see can burst very soon as the soap bubble.

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2014 update:

Posted in Crisis, Economy, Gedachten van anderen, News and Politics, Thoughts of others | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Increasing wealth gap of immense proportions in the Capitalist World

In Europe we can see that the gap between the rich and poor is increasing and more people from the middle class are become lass wealthy and are feeling the pressure of making it possible to live a normal healthy, comfortable life.

For Europeans income inequality has existed for longer than it has in the U.S. and has been a block at the leg for many. According to some there might be little mobility within the wealth scale, but according to me the governments could help a lot by cutting of the top earnings and by not allowing to much difference between the wages. there should be a difference between the non-educated, the less experienced, the newer worker and those working already a long time for the firm, the management, the CEO, but it can not be acceptable that the CEO earns 300 times more than the lowest worker.

In Europe we luckily have the advancement and lots of people are less bad than in the U.S.A. because we do have our social safety nets. Because of the lacking of social safety nets for citizens in the United States the ones which would have less luck with their health or with work would be worse off and the inequality shall be felt more over there.

English: US derivatives and US wealth compared...

US derivatives and US wealth compared to total world wealth 1995-2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In Belgium it becomes necessary for the youngsters to work with two, or more to keep the head above water, while the wealth gap increases with immense proportions.

When we only look at the country of so much hope and so called liberty, we do find just four hundred persons in the US having as much in assets and income as the bottom 50% of Americans.

Even the so called communist China cannot escape the wealthgap. Chinese households at the top 5 percent of all income earners took in 23 percent of the total, while the bottom 5 percent earned 0.1 percent, a study of Peking University found.

Wealth in America

Wealth in America (Photo credit: uvw916a)

When you move to the impact of global wealth distribution to individuals, according to Global Wealth Equality, the richest 1% on the earth have accumulated some 43% of the world’s wealth, while the bottom 80% of the planet’s inhabitants have just 6% between them.

In several industrialised countries for decades, the nation’s assets have grown more and more concentrated in the hands of a few, while the rest of the nation makes do with the crumbs ad are used as working machines, only there to produce and to bring in money for the company. Corporations receive more gains than the people doing all the hard work. Though the stone bricks or gyproc walls cannot do anything with the wealth, while the labourers need it to pay for their necessary food and well-being.

A few decennia ago lots of material was brought in from the colonies and those people over there where used as the jackpots. The ending of the colonies did not bring more justice. The post-colonial era has actually accelerated economic injustice on a worldwide basis.

The men in charge are forgetting previous inequalities under the population and what it got the nation into, cfr. Tsarist Russia and the Soviet Union. It is doubtful if harsh working conditions and instability can instil loyalty or even motivate employees to do their best. And how long shall they be willing to feel squeezed as a lemon? If governments are not careful we shall going to face some tumultuous years in a few years time. We better avoid that we come in a situation where so many people are disgusted by the system that they turn against it.

Insane Global Oligarchy: Richest 300 persons on Earth have more money than poorest 3 billion

and please do find the Buzz Flash by Mark Karlin: Global Oligarchy: Richest 300 persons on Earth have more money than poorest 3 billion

Fountain of Wealth 2

Fountain of Wealth (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Please also find:

  1. Materialism, would be life, and aspirations
  2. True riches

  3. Count your blessings
  4. Good to make sure that you haven’t lost the things money can’t buy
  5. Living a perfect day
  6. When we love we do not need laws
  • Richest 300 Persons on Earth Have More Money Than Poorest 3 Billion (dprogram.net)
    Criticisms of the World Bank focus on how it creates financial conditions that result in debt dependency of the nations that borrow from it, therfore negatively impacting the economic prospects of the vast majority of its residents.

    dumpphil7 17

    dumpphil7 17
    Poor rummage through garbage to survive in the Philippines As we repeatedly focus on wealth inequality in the United States (i.e.; just four hundred persons in the US have as much in assets and income as the bottom 50% of Americans), a video points out the even more extreme global wealth disparity.

    Trade agreements and global corporate exploitation of international monetary regulations provide resources and cheap labor to developed nations, while leaving poorer countries depleted. Is it possible that rich countries have increased the wealth gap from being 35 times greater during European colonialization to 80 times greater today? The video Global Wealth Equality contends that is the case.

  • The Wealth Gap Is Crushing America’s Youth [CHARTS] (businessinsider.com)
    Under the radar, study after study has shown just how the growing wealth gap could stymie upward mobility for America’s youth. In a telling report  by Washington, D.C.-based think tank, The Hamilton Project, a team of researchers uncover economic data that show exactly how income inequality can impact social mobility in America.”It is too early to say for certain whether the rise in income inequality over the past few decades has caused a fall in social mobility of the poor and those in the middle class,” the authors write. “The first generation of Americans to grow up under this inequality is, on average, in high school—but the early signs are troubling.”

  • China Wealth Gap Becomes a Chasm (hispanicbusiness.com)
    The average annual income in Shanghai was came to $4,700. In the Gansu Province, in northwest China, the average income was about $2,000, said the survey conducted by the Chinese Family Panel Studies at Peking University.
  • Kathleen Tiet, Blog 4 (soc133inequalityblog.wordpress.com)
    Class inequality does not only happen in the United States but also in other countries around the world as well. Zong Qinghou, one of China’s wealthiest man, believes that China does not need to solve the problem of the rich and poor gap in their country, but believes that they should solve the problem of common prosperity. Common prosperity is the equal success everyone should be pushing for so that they are able to support themselves and their families.
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    China has been going through overpopulation problems, which had caused problems towards their economic, pollution, resources, and more. China created the “one child policy” so that they are able to control the overpopulation. Zong is possibly implying that if everyone has the same equal wealth and have the opportunity to purchase more food then there would not be enough food for everyone to eat comfortably, on top of the overpopulation problem their country is going through, which includes the limited resources (food) they have.
  • Happiness = richer than neighbors (bankrate.com)
    Call it the “keeping up with the Joneses effect.” Many people report that they would be happier if they earned more money, but for the middle class in particular, it’s not so much a specific number that matters, but whether they are doing better financially than their neighbors.A study that includes U.S. Census income data and surveys comparing income levels to happiness found that a widening gap in income is also pointing to differences in how Americans equate happiness with money.
  • Economics (frankwrightuk.com)
    Many in the middle class and working class are experiencing hardship due to the economic conditions in  Western countries.
  • The Problem With Rich Kids (bigthink.com)
    A few months ago, a viral YouTube video showed that the top 1 percent of Americans now control 40 percent of the nation’s wealth. Earlier this year, a study suggested a link between wealth and longevity: the more money you have, the more years you’re likely to enjoy on earth. And this graph shows how warped the American income distribution is:

    No matter how extreme the inequalities, defenders of plutocracy can always be counted on to offer justifications for the status quo. The upshot of most of these arguments is this: people deserve what they have and it is unfair for the government to take it away. The more talented, the harder working, the more industrious, the more tenacious among us justifiably wind up with millions while others make do with less, or with next to nothing. And the rich-poor gap, its apologists tell us, is good for those at the tail end of the distribution: the lower income brackets will benefit from the industriousness of the wealthy by being employed by them, by enjoying cheaper, better products, by sailing in a tide that lifts all boats. As long as markets are kept open and all are left free to pursue their dreams, every child in America will have a legitimate shot at living a secure and successful life. Or so the story goes.

Posted in Crisis, Poverty, Warning, Welfare and Health | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Populaire Kremlinopposant veroordeeld tot vijf jaar strafkamp

Pax Christi meldt:

Op 18 juli 2013 hoorde Alexei Navalny in een rechtbank in Kirov (Rusland) vijf jaar opsluiting in een strafkamp tegen zichzelf uitspreken. De 37-jarige advocaat is één van de boegbeelden van de massale anti-Poetinprotesten van vorig jaar. Die kwamen er als reactie op de omstreden uitslag van de parlementsverkiezingen van december 2011 en de presidentsverkiezingen in maart 2012.

Navalny is een populair anti-Poetin– en anti-corruptieactivist. Als fervent blogger kreeg hij via het internet tienduizenden mensen op de been tegen het bewind van Poetin. In juni 2012 zat hij samen met een drietal medestanders al een paar dagen in de cel voor zijn aandeel in de protestacties. Hij werd uiteindelijk veroordeeld voor verduistering. Navalny zou een bedrag van ca. €400.000 “afgeroomd” hebben van een houtbedrijf van de staat, waar hij in 2009 als vrijwillig adviseur aan de slag was. Een medebeschuldigde kreeg vier jaar cel. Het duurde drie uur voor het vonnis van meer dan 100 pagina’s volledig was voorgelezen. Daarbij benadrukte de rechter meermaals dat de uitspraak “niet politiek gemotiveerd was”. Honderden sympathisanten gingen uit protest tegen de veroordeling de straat op. Maar ook figuren uit het Poetin-kamp vinden dat het verdict “meer lijkt op een manier om Navalny buitenspel te zetten dan op een ware straf”.

Ondertussen is Navalny in afwachting van een beroepsprocedure op borgtocht vrijgelaten, op voorwaarde dat hij het land niet verlaat. De vrijlating is bevolen door procureur-generaal van Moskou. Op die manier kan de Kremlinopposant in september 2013 nog meedingen naar de burgemeesterssjerp van Moskou. Als hij tenminste in de tussentijd geen andere veroordeling oploopt, want er hangen de man nog een aantal andere strafzaken boven het hoofd.

Lees meer:

Anti-corruption blogger Navalny sentenced to 5 years behind bars for embezzlement (Russia Today)
Mr. Putin Tries to Crush Another Rival (NY Times)
Russian Court Jails Putin’s Most Influential Opponent  (Time Magazine)
Alexei Navalny sentenced to five years in prison (The Guardian)
Nationale feestdag “zonder Poetin” (Pax Christi)

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  • Alexei Navalny Rleased Pending Appeal (hispanicbusiness.com)
    A Russian court released opposition figure Alexei Navalny from custody Friday pending his appeal of a conviction and prison sentence for embezzling.
    The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office requested Navalny’s release until his sentence could be enforced, which would be in 10 days if he does not appeal, RIA Novosti reported.
  • Cheers for Navalny in Court and Online (thelede.blogs.nytimes.com)
    Video from Radio Svoboda showed Aleksei Navalny emerging from court in Kirov, Russia on Friday.
    Meanwhile, as my colleague Ellen Barry noted , Judge Sergei Blinov, who sentenced Mr. Navalny to five years in prison on Thursday, was also spotted slipping out of the court, with less fanfare.
  • Russian press reaction to the Navalny court sentence (russianreport.wordpress.com)
    Mr Navalny’s unexpected release on bail came too late to be reflected in Friday’s newspapers, which focus on his role and the impact of his possible absence from the political arena.

    Commentators are impressed with Navalny’s determination and charisma, with one newspaper describing him as a beacon of freedom in Russia.

    Another article, however, argues that Navalny comes from “a murky environment” and may indeed have something to answer for.

  • GARRY KASPAROV: It’s Now Clear That Vladimir Putin Has ‘Declared War On The Opposition’ (businessinsider.com)
    One of those who spoke out was Garry Kasparov, the grand chessmaster-turned-opposition politician who fled Russia earlier this year amid fears of prosecution. He told Business Insider that Putin has “openly declared war on the opposition.”

    When he fled, Kasparov feared he could be next in line amid the ongoing trials of Navalny and Sergei Udaltsov. Navalny and his former business partner, Pyotr Ofitserov, were freed amid appeal from the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office.

  • Navalny to remain in race for Moscow mayor (russianreport.wordpress.com)
    Yesterday the staff of the Alexei Navalny for Mayor campaign were closing up shop due to the conviction and sentencing of Navalny on what most rational people suspect were bogus charges.
    After the judge ruled that Navalny can remain free on bail pending his appeals, the kiosk are reappearing and the Navalny campaign is back in business.
  • Vladimir Putin foe Alexei Navalny freed from Russian jail after protests (standard.co.uk)
    Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was freed from jail today, less than 24 hours after a judge sentenced him to five years for embezzlement in what critics claim was a politically-driven trial.
    The 37-year-old Vladimir Putin foe embraced his wife Yulia as he was released from a courtroom “cage” after three judges in the Kirov regional court…
  • Navalny’s Tweets Of Defiance (rferl.org)
    Navalny’s own live-tweeting of the proceedings ruthlessly mocked the court with characteristic satire.

    “To put hipsters on trial is only to ruin the trial,” says one tweet that Navalny seemed to like and which he retweeted.

    @navalny Хипстеров судить – только суд портить pic.twitter.com/bYgadv7xEe

    View image on Twitter
  • Russian opposition leader Navalny released (thehindu.com)
    Analysts said the conviction of Russia’s most famous anti-corruption campaigner on what experts said were tramped-up charges will boost his popularity in the Moscow elections scheduled for early September. As of last week he was trailing far behind Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, who is favoured by 76 percent of voters. Mr Navalny is in a distant second place with 14 percent, but his support grew by 4 percent in just one week.

    Mr Navalny may yet be taken off the race if his appeal against his sentence is overturned and the guilty verdict enters into force at least nine days before the September 8 vote.

Posted in Gedachten van anderen, Nieuws en politiek | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Looming verdict for the one who dares to speak and unravel

Alexei Navalny, father of two children, made the transition from cantankerous anti-corruption blogger to become the undisputed leader of the ragtag group of writers, journalists and professional headbangers who make up the entrenched opposition to President Vladimir Putin.

alexey navalny

alexey navalny (Photo credit: valya v)

The ex-Soviet Union claims to have become a democratic and free country, but when you put your ears to those behind the walls you get a totally different impression.

Those who openly come out for their opinion and present other ideas than the main stream are quickly brought to other intentions by those in charge. And in case they would not like to listen to those in power, soon it is made so that they shall be singing a tone lower or shut down.

Wanting to become mayor of Moscow Alexei Navalny, running his campaign, he is managing a dozen young corruption fighters uncovering wrongdoing among the highest echelons of Russia‘s government. In his spare time, he is tweeting and blogging with fury, helping to spread his message that it is time to “destroy the feudal system of power” that has occupied the Kremlin.

Because his uncovering activities he is a danger for the men in power. Since he first burst on to the scene in the winter of 2010 eyes of the higher hierarchy were focused on him and his activists. When Moscow erupted in protest in the winter of 2011, as Putin prepared to return to the presidency amid accusations of voter fraud and creeping tyranny, Navalny became their de facto leader, working crowds into a frenzy with his fiery speeches calling for the people to take the power that was rightfully theirs. His investigations into corruption by everyone from state-run companies to Kremlin-loyal MPs put him in the crosshairs of a government that has never brokered those who challenge it.

Navalny’s anti-corruption campaign won him a loyal following, with thousands of Russians donating to his cause. He took to social media early, winning hundreds of thousands of followers, to circumvent the state’s stranglehold over television and, increasingly, print media.

“Everyone was always asking: When will they come [for me]? And now you think: Well, here they’ve come,” he said.

There were millions of requests about the infamous “Sobyanin’s slabs” scandal – Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin spending suspiciously large amounts of money on replacing tarmac streets with paving slabs (at least, that’s where he says the money is going). It’s kind of funny how the so-called ‘competent industrialist’ is keeping his lips completely sealed and refusing to answer direct questions about it.

English: Navalny during a public presentation ...

Navalny during a public presentation on corruption in Russia at LSE on 21 September 2011 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

TV Rain also did an interesting report on our HQ – watch it if you want to get a feel for how they work.
http://tvrain.ru/articles/navalnyj_i_ego_komanda_ekskljuziv_iz_shtaba_kandidata-347760/

And if you really want a laugh, compare it with Sobyanin’s HQ:
http://tvrain.ru/articles/kto_pomogaet_sobjaninu_semki_v_shtabe_kandidata-347764/

“Putin wants the period of his rule to be safe for him so he wants to control everything that is happening,” Navalny said. “For a time he could do that via TV propaganda and through the support of the population that he got thanks to better quality of living.

“From 2003 to 2010 there was a lot of talk that Putin was ruling with the help of fear and repression, but it wasn’t actually like that. Repression was felt by [jailed oligarch Mikhail] Khodorkovsky and a few other people. In fact, he just bought everyone off.

“Now the money is ending … so now he has turned to repression as a means of running the country.”

The charismatic anti-corruption lawyer and political and financial activist,  “Person of the Year 2009” by Russian business newspaper Vedomosti, who announced his intentions to run for President of Russia on April 4, 2013, is facing embezzlement charges in a case at the core of the toughest crackdown on opposition activists since Russian President Vladimir Putin came to power 13 years ago.

A guilty verdict – which Mr Navalny expects – would prevent him taking part in elections to the powerful position of Moscow mayor in September.

Mr Navalny accused the government of failing to improve infrastructure on the back of Russia’s oil and gas boom, and of leading the country down a path of “degradation and drink”. He said he and his allies were going to “destroy the feudal system” that “robs us all” and “sits like a spider in the Kremlin”.

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The blog of Navalny in English

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  • Russia protest leader’s verdict looms large (news.yahoo.com)
    Alexei Navalny’s energy and charisma propelled him from a lonely role blogging about corruption to wide renown as Russia’s leading opposition activist. His projects, including a campaign to run for Moscow mayor, have attracted hordes of volunteers and fundraisers.
  • Russia protest leader’s verdict looms large (star-telegram.com)
    In the four years since Navalny began blogging about Russia’s endemic corruption, the 37-year-old lawyer has become the major figure of Russia’s nascent opposition. He spearheaded the wave of massive protest rallies that arose in late 2011, riveting crowds of 100,000 or more. Even as his embezzlement trial proceeded in the provincial city of Kirov, Navalny pushed forward his movement by declaring himself a candidate for this fall’s Moscow mayoral election, attracting a wave of eager young volunteers.

    He and many observers are sure a conviction is coming in what they describe as a politically motivated case. What seems less certain is the impact: If he goes to prison, it could sap his movement by taking away its galvanizing figure — or make supporters more determined.

  • Navalny enters Moscow mayor race (bbc.co.uk)
    The anti-corruption blogger, 37, faces a verdict next week in an embezzlement trial.

    He denies allegations he took $500,000 from a state timber firm and says the charges are politically motivated.

    Mr Navalny faces up to six years in prison if found guilty. He has described the trial as a “political vendetta” planned by the Kremlin to stop his political activity.+
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  • Majority party helps opposition run for Moscow mayoral elections (rbth.ru)
    Representatives from the ruling party United Russia have helped several opposition candidates get registered for the mayoral election. Experts consider this to be uncommon for Russian politics and qualify this as an attempt to avoid protests.
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    Upon Sobyanin’s request, members of United Russia have also helped the famous Russian oppositionist Aleksey Navalny collect signatures of Municipal Deputies. However, Navalny agreed to accept only 49 signatures.

    According to the Chief of Navalny’s office, Leonid Volkov, from all the signatures offered by Moscow’s authorities, only those of independent (non-party) Municipal Deputies were accepted.

  • Prosecutors demand six-year sentence for Russian opponent (worldbulletin.net)
    Dressed casually in beige trousers and a light shirt with the sleeves rolled up, he told reporters: “I still hope everything will be fine.”

    Navalny’s trial is widely seen as the most significant in Russia since oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky was jailed in 2005 for fraud and tax evasion after falling out with Putin. His $40 billion oil firm, Yukos, was broken up and sold off, mainly into state hands.

    Navalny, who organised the biggest anti-Putin protests since the former KGB spy rose to power in 2000, has suggested the president ordered the trial to stop his criticism of what he calls a political class of “swindlers and thieves”.

    The Kremlin has denied using the courts for political ends and says it does not interfere in criminal cases.

  • Russia protest leader’s verdict looms large (miamiherald.com)
    Navalny’s best-known project, the Rospil website, monitors state contracts and appeals to law enforcement agencies to get the dodgy ones annulled. It employs six lawyers who have overturned nearly 130 contracts since 2010, worth 59 billion rubles ($1.8 billion) in taxpayer money. Other Navalny projects rely on crowdsourcing, attracting information about various grievances from potholes on the roads to leaking pipes in apartment blocks.

    Navalny has also plumbed property registers abroad to name and shame top officials and lawmakers for owning undeclared foreign assets and holding foreign citizenship. One of them, Vladimir Pekhtin, the head of the ethics commission in the lower house of parliament, resigned in February after Navalny blogged about Pekhtin’s luxury property holdings in Miami Beach.

    Navalny’s investigations have targeted a wide circle of loyalists to President Vladimir Putin — from members of parliament to state bankers, striking at the core of Putin’s “vertical of power” and threatening to discredit the entire system of governance he has built. Lilia Shevtsova, a political analyst at the Carnegie Center in Moscow, said Navalny’s anti-corruption campaign has inflicted “painful bites on the system,” turning the blogger into a political leader.

  • Levada Delivers Brutal Cold Facts to Navalny (dyingrussia.wordpress.com)
    The first poll addresses the Kremlin’s prosecution of Navalny in Kirov for alleged corruption.  The second poll deals with Navalny’s quixotic bid for Mayor of Moscow.  Both links are in Russian.

    The news these polls deliver to Navalny is relentlessly, brutally bad.

    The polls reveal that at most less than a third of Russians know who Navalny is.  The one bit of good news is that among those in that tiny group the overwhelming majority, 67%, believe the charges against him in Kirov are politically motivated.   But that means that less than 15% of the Russian population agrees with Navalny’s closing statement in court that he is being persecuted. The rest have no idea what he’s talking about.

  • Russia protest leader’s verdict looms large (kansascity.com)
    “Navalny is the only person in Russia who views politics as routine 24/7 work,” Volkov said. “Navalny always has something going on. He’s always busy.”

    His Foundation for Fighting Corruption, an umbrella organization for projects, is run by Navalny himself and Vladimir Ashurkov, a U.S.-educated former asset manager who has been the key fundraiser for the foundation. Ashurkov refused to comment on the prospects of Navalny’s projects until the verdict is announced. But some of his employees voiced confidence that Navalny’s anti-corruption efforts will not be affected by his possible prison sentence.

    Lyubov Sobol, a lawyer who has worked for Rospil for two years, is optimistic that she and her colleagues will be able to carry on. Navalny and his team have talked about the possibility of a prison sentence and “different scenarios for development,” Sobol said.

    “We came to a conclusion that what we do at the Foundation will go on regardless,” Sobol said. “All of the employees are independent and know their job well.”

  • Russia protest leader’s verdict looms large (foxnews.com)
    His Foundation for Fighting Corruption, an umbrella organization for projects, is run by Navalny himself and Vladimir Ashurkov, a U.S.-educated former asset manager who has been the key fundraiser for the foundation. Ashurkov refused to comment on the prospects of Navalny’s projects until the verdict is announced. But some of his employees voiced confidence that Navalny’s anti-corruption efforts will not be affected by his possible prison sentence.
  • Alexei Navalny: ‘The Kremlin want to jail me but they’re scared too’ (guardian.co.uk)
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